Do What You Can Do 1/6/2021

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Senator Jeff Golden

 *  “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”  
—Helen Keller

Let's Talk.

town hall

The generosity continues

We’ll all remember 2020. Most of the memories won’t be uplifting, but there’s a big exception: the unending flow of compassionate, generous energy that so many of our neighbors directed to easing the suffering of those most damaged by the pandemic and the wildfires. If you haven’t followed much of that, or could just use a lift, consider this

There’s still time to support work like this. Have a look at the “Where to Give” section below.

Avoiding eviction

You probably know about our special session measure to extend the moratorium on COVID-related residential evictions until the end of June. It comes with two new features:

  • Landlords can get reimbursement for much of the rent they lost in
    2020. Information is here.
  • Tenants now have a responsibility to give their landlord a written declaration that their non-payment comes from financial hardship. Here’s how to do that.

The Disconnect


I’ve written before, and will again, about the ongoing campaign to disconnect Oregon tax code from the three new upper-end tax breaks included in the CARES Act last March. The claim at the time was that they’d ease the pain for businesses damaged by the pandemic, but that doesn’t stand up to analysis from a wide variety of economists. That’s why several states have already said they won’t go along with the changes. If we do the same with a “disconnect” bill, we’ll save something over $100M in tax revenue that we can direct towards small Oregon businesses that really are suffering from 2020’s calamities.

I continued to push for that in statewide news coverage this week. That drew a constituent email that I want to share with you:

Dear Jeff,
After hearing about your proposal to decouple from Federal tax breaks
for the wealthy, I wanted to write to let you know we support your efforts. 
We have been fortunate in our lives and don't know for certain if we fall
into the affected group but feel that for too long the wealthiest among us continue to benefit at the expense of those less fortunate.  The recent
COVID financial distributions are no exception. Covid and the Almeda Fire
have hit the lowest income folks the hardest and we received checks last summer.  This was just an indicator of the many inequities that need to
change to create a more balanced society.


COVID news

While down from the record highs at the end of 2020, COVID infection numbers in Jackson County are still high.


As of this week something like 55,000 Oregonians have received the first vaccine of the two-dose series, about 2500 of them in Jackson County.  Most are front-line health workers, with some vulnerable residents of congregate care facilities right behind. Teachers and school staff will also get priority treatment in order to expedite school openings. Governor Brown put an ambitious stake in the ground this week by announcing a goal to reach a vaccination rate of 12,000 per day by mid-January

That responds to criticism that this roll-out is dramatically slower than predicted. Some reasons are clear: far fewer doses came to states than they were told to expect, and the distribution network for this unprecedented campaign is coming together on the fly. Could the state have done much better? I’m not sure. But we in the legislature are paying more attention and asking harder questions than we were before.  That might be one reason that the vaccination rate will accelerate in days and weeks to come. Still, we most likely have a few months left of social distancing and masking ahead before vaccinations dramatically change the picture.

On the same subject: I’m getting a steady stream of emails urging me to stand strong against any effort to make COVID vaccination mandatory in Oregon. I definitely will—if it comes to that, which seems unlikely. I’m concerned that the harm and severe distress from this pandemic can make us forget that the power to control physical intervention in our bodies is one of the most basic rights we have. What’s been missing in Oregon’s vaccination debate generally is calm recognition that some core rights and values push against each other in complex ways. Our responsibility is to find the very best balance we can. Forcing COVID vaccine into the arms of unwilling Oregonians wouldn’t do that.

I deeply hope that this won’t turn into another argument that tears Oregon apart.

Right now I write this, I’m listening to accounts of today’s riots inside and outside of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. It is—to borrow a phrase that’s become sadly common in the last few months—shocking but not surprising. It’s where we’ve been heading, in Oregon and most other states I know about, and as a nation.


Photo from Kenny Holston for The New York Times

All I know at this moment is that 2021 will likely call on our collective courage, determination and patriotism, in the deepest and least cynical sense of that word, as never before. It will be the year for all of us with the slightest remnant of civic pride to do what we can do.

Join me for Friday’s Town Hall meeting if you can.


Senator Jeff Golden, Oregon Senate District 3

Where to Give

  • Rogue Action Center has been instrumental in helping those affected by the fires.  You can donate to Rogue Action Center here

  • The Phoenix-Talent School District is doing phenomenal work to support families impacted by the Almeda Fire and connect them with resources, all while adapting to COVID-19. To support their continued efforts, click here to donate.

  • Rogue Action Center, Rogue Climate, SO Health-e, SO Equity, and Siskiyou Rising-Tide have established the Rogue Valley Relief Fund, which will provide relief for the most vulnerable in our community. Donate here.

  • Unete supports farm workers and immigrant families throughout the Rogue Valley and established the Immigrant Fire Relief Fund following the Almeda to aid those impacted by the fire with rent/utilities and food. Click here to donate.

  • Rogue Food Unites provides locally made meals to those affected by the fires both short and long-term. Click here to donate. Click here to get involved.

  • Access works to provide food assistance throughout the valley to those in need. With increasing need due to COVID and the wildfires, consider donating here.

  • Food and Friends delivers meals to seniors in order to support their independent living and safety during the pandemic. Click here to donate. Click here to learn more about volunteer opportunities.

COVID resources

  • The Governor's COVID website is updated regularly to provide county and state specific COVID information.

  • OHA's website has information on COVID-19 with links to the latest announcements, guidance, etc. 

  • If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, click here to locate a testing location near you.

  • Have questions about COVID-19 in Jackson County? Visit the Jackson County Public Health website or you can call Jackson County Health and Human services with questions at 541-774-8200.

Wildfire resources

  • The Governor's wildfire website has county specific and statewide information.

  • As of January 1st, shelters managed by the Red Cross are now being managed by Oregon Department of Human Services. If you are in need of shelter or meals, call 833-669-0554. 

  • If you are in need to food assistance, The Oregon Food Bank has created this page where you can search for a food pantry or pick-up site near you.

Capitol Phone: 503-986-1703
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, S-421, Salem, OR, 97301 
Podcast: Capitolizing